Thursday, April 2, 2009

Johann Peter Reinert, Patrice Rion and René Renou – Notes from a Sunday

Today’s notes all go back to the same Sunday session from which yesterday’s write-up of Jacky Truchot originated. Though I initially intended to cover all four wines at once, the Truchot piece – once I got rolling with it – quickly took on a life of its own. I wouldn’t want the other three wines to feel neglected (though one of them would have been better left alone), so here we go….

Saar Wiltinger Schlangenbraben Riesling Spätlese, Johann Peter Reinert 1993
$18 on release. 8.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Petit Pois, Moorestown, NJ.
Much more developed than when last tasted about two years ago. Fully mature but not showing the petrol aromas so common to old Saar wines; instead, its bouquet is loaded with scents of orange oil and white flowers, along with a suggestion of partially botrytis-affected fruit that I hadn’t picked up in the past. Its texture was very soft and comforting, though it was certainly not without grip. The wine’s mineral and fruit-driven flavors have completely integrated, rendering a slightly saline, savory core. Preserved lemons, wintergreen, sweet dill and nougat all emerged as the wine developed in the glass, with a slow move toward room temperature revealing the wine’s acidity and mineral depth even more clearly than when cool. Quite delicious (that should be clear, I hope), though I believe it has reached its full potential.

Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru “Clos des Argillières,” Domaine Michèle & Patrice Rion 2001
$52 on release. 13% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Petit Pois, Moorestown, NJ.
While I ended up comparing the wines of Jacky Truchot with those of David Duband in yesterday’s post, this is the wine we actually tasted alongside Truchot’s Chambolle. Totally different terroir and very different winemaking approach, but it’s still educational to taste comparatively like this. Though three years older, Patrice Rion’s wine is younger in its developmental curve and is still in a fairly reductive state. Quite tight when first uncorked, it then opened up relatively quickly, revealing aromas of tobacco and concentrated black fruit, along with plenty of firm, spicy plum and blackberry fruit on the palate. A half-hour later, though, it shut right back down. “Les Argillières” is considered by many to be one of the top, if not the top, crus in the commune of Prémeaux, located at the southern end of Nuits-Saint-Georges. (The ½ acre “Les Argillières” and 10.4 acre “Clos des Argillières” are two climats within the same Premier Cru.) Patrice’s wine is showing more force than finesse at the moment but it does suggest the potential for better things to come with age.

Bonnezeaux “Tri de Vendanges,” René Renou 1999
$13 on closeout. 13% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Robert Kacher, Washington, DC.
The color was fine – lighter than expected if anything – but that’s about the only positive thing I can say for this. Flabby and smelling of paint, rotten corn and, vaguely, vomit. I didn't expect much given the closeout price... but what the hell happened here?


Edward said...


Evocative notes, the final wine sounds truly horrid though. . . What is the object to the right in the Bonnezeaux image?

David McDuff said...

That's a regular bottle in an ice bucket, Edward. I neglected to mention that the Bonnezeaux was a Nebuchadnezzar, putting that $13 closeout price into even more ridiculous perspective.

If you don't believe that, would you believe that it's just a little tchotchke? A tiny little bottle and ice bucket. The top pops open and there's enough room inside to store, well, pretty much nothing.

Michael D. said...

Vomit. Yuck. Obnoxiously oaked whites smell like that at times. But Bonnezaux? Did you attempt to taste the wine a second time?

Edward said...

David, I would have believed you too, if only you had stopped at a Jeroboam :)

David McDuff said...

I tasted the wine a second time during the same overall session, with little change. I didn't have the opportunity to revisit it on a second day, so I'll check in with my host to see if he has anything to report.

A Jeroboam wouldn't have been to scale.

bill l said...

i believe the bonnezeaux was horribely heat damaged. renou is decent producer, or used to be. no change to the wine later that evening, so i dumped it out. the pronounced caramel notes were so offensive i can only attribiute them to heat exposure.

on a more positive note the truchot from that evening was everything you look for in burgundy. truly a memorable wine.
it's a bit hard to open truchot's wines knowing there is now a fixed quantity of them.

the reinert reisling was memorable too. every time i drink older reisling i wonder why i pursue other wines.

Anonymous said...

I have had the displeasure of tasting a wine that had the stench of vomit on it. The sensation of matching the smell to what it is is one of the most fascinating things i encountered in tasting wine. It is like the brain initially rejected what my nose was telling it. Definitely an unpleasat, if educational, experience.

David McDuff said...

There are certainly some aromas that are unforgettable, no matter how much we'd like to forget them. Making the connection between any given scent and its relationship to the natural world is always satisfying, though. Definitely a rewarding -- and often difficult -- part of the wine tasting experience.

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